TASC on Task

Los Angeles Department of City Planning, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91401

Environmental Case NO: ENV-2016-3909-EIR

Project Name: Promenade 2035; Project Applicant: Westfield Promenade LLC

The Topanga Association for a Scenic Community (TASC) represents more than 200 residents living in Topanga Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains. Our organization has been involved in every land use battle in Topanga since 1963.

We have had the opportunity to review the draft SEIR with an emphasis on the traffic studies. We are concerned that the traffic impacts to our community have not been considered nor addressed. We believe the SEIR traffic study is inadequate for the following reasons:

Proposed Project Traffic Impacts to Topanga Canyon

The entire town of Topanga has only one primary artery, Topanga Canyon Boulevard. There are no alternative routes, so every commuter, every concert/sporting event attendee, and every shopper further clog an already over-burdened highway, making the road more congested and hazardous for residents and our children. In 2008, a traffic study showed that more than 18,000 cars per day traverse our canyon road, which has only increased in recent years.

Furthermore, Topanga Canyon Blvd. is the first State highway west of the 405 freeway to connect Woodland Hills with the Pacific Coast Highway. As such, the proposed project will increase traffic substantially on the highway. We have not seen, nor has any traffic study been done by Caltrans or the L.A. County Department of Public Works.

We are requesting that a full study be done before any approvals be given.

Primary Concerns

  • Westfield’s proposed expanded center will increase daily traffic by the multiples of thousands on Topanga Canyon Blvd., which is already overloaded.
  • The 15,000-seat arena, in particular, will draw people from the west side, not only increasing the number of cars on the road, but likely having drivers under the influence and/or smoking who will be navigating an unfamiliar, winding road as they return home.
  • Traffic violations increase in direct correlation to the number of cars on the road. Most violations in Topanga are due to driving at unsafe speeds and DUI’s. Many times, wildfires and death are the result.

Increased Traffic Impacts to Topanga:

  • Increased fire risks. The threat of wildfire is so great in Topanga and escape time so narrow, that Topanga Canyon conducts periodic fire safety meetings with L.A. County Fire personnel to remind residents to be vigilant in fire safety. Commuters traveling through Topanga Canyon to a stadium are most likely unaware of the extreme fire dangers that are caused by a simple cigarette butt.
  • More congestion, longer travel times.
  • Trash along Topanga Canyon Blvd, which is also hazardous to the creek and animals.
  • Increased noise pollution is especially problematic at night after an event. The proposed Traffic study must include a sound test.
  • Reduced air quality, as exhaust pollution gets trapped between the mountains.
  • Ingress and egress problems with County neighborhood streets flowing onto Topanga Canyon Blvd.
  • Increased risk to wildlife crossing Topanga Canyon Blvd.

The SEIR is incomplete and inadequate (examples follow)

The SEIR completely fails to take into account the impact that the proposed project will have on Topanga. In fact, Topanga Canyon was not even mentioned as an area of study in the SEIR. This is extremely concerning for the following reasons:

  • On p. IV. K-17, the SEIR states that 47 intersections were analyzed for the proposed project. Yet none of those 47 intersections were located in Topanga Canyon, which is a glaring omission.
  • Of the 47 intersections analyzed, four were determined to operate at LOS E or worse, which is defined as POOR and indicates long lines of waiting traffic. One of these four LOS E intersections is the intersection of Topanga Canyon Blvd. and Ventura Blvd. As a point of reference, virtually every vehicle that travels north on Topanga Canyon Blvd., including residents of Topanga, already must encounter that intersection at TCB and Ventura Boulevards. The fact that this intersection has already been determined to have the very POOREST conditions, indicates that there is an existing major problem. The proposed project will increase traffic immensely at this already problematic intersection. This is unacceptable to residents of Topanga and must be addressed.
  • Even worse, on p. IV. K-78, the SEIR studied the 47 intersections under the category, “Existing with Full Promenade (Including ESC) Plus EMP.” This study determined that two of the 47 intersections received the absolute worst rating, which is LOS F. The definition of LOS F = FAILURE. Incredibly, both of these two failed intersections are two intersections where Topangans are directly impacted, including the intersection of TCB and Ventura Blvd.
  • Mitigation: Throughout the SEIR, there are mentions of mitigation. Yet nowhere in the SEIR does it state any specific mitigations when it comes to the problematic intersection of TCB and Ventura Blvds. There is also no mention of any impact to Topanga traffic, much less any possible mitigation.

We believe that the traffic portion of the SEIR is inadequate. We ask that you incorporate the impacts that the proposed project will have on the 8,000 residents of Topanga Canyon.


Sincerely, Roger Pugliese, TASC Chair


1 Comment
  1. SEIR’s usually define a “sphere of influence” that must be included in impact analysis. It sounds like the City of LA has not included the UNINCORPORATED COUNTY AREA OF TOPANGA, from just south of Mulholland Drive to PCH. The County of Los Angeles should support expanding the sphere of influence so they can also comment on the SEIR. By including the contiguous County areas of the mountains, other areas of concern would also be evaluated including light pollution; dark skies ordinances are in effect throughout the county wildland areas in the SMM’s. The SMMNRA serves all the public, not just Topanga. How will the City of LA mitigate?
    And, just a note: the current updated census lists Topanga Unincorporated population at 11,000, not 8,000.
    Thanks for your work on this. The City of LA is notorious for ignoring the mountains, and it has only been through dogged support from our County reps that sometimes the door has been opened to include their input.


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